This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2004).







State of Minnesota,





Ronald D. Saxon,




Filed September 19, 2006


Halbrooks, Judge



Stearns County District Court

File No. KX-04-72, K2-05-1596



Mike Hatch, Attorney General, 1800 Bremer Tower, 445 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN  55101; and


Janelle P. Kendall, Stearns County Attorney, Elizabeth Lamin, Assistant County Attorney, Administration Center, Room 448, 705 Courthouse Square, St. Cloud, MN 56303-4701 (for respondent)


John M. Stuart, State Public Defender, Cathryn Middlebrook, Assistant Public Defender, 2221 University Avenue SE, Suite 425, Minneapolis, MN 55414 (for appellant)



            Considered and decided by Hudson, Presiding Judge; Halbrooks, Judge; and Wright, Judge.

U N P U B L I S H E D   O P I N I O N


            Appellant challenges his conviction of harassment/stalking and violation of an order for protection, arguing that his guilty plea was not intelligently and voluntarily entered.  Appellant contends that he felt pressured into pleading guilty on the day of trial because his witnesses were not available and because he did not understand he was giving up his right to present witnesses.  We affirm.


            In October 2003, appellant Ronald Saxon left 27 phone messages for a female acquaintance in violation of a valid order for protection.  Respondent State of Minnesota charged appellant with one count of harassment/stalking in violation of Minn. Stat. § 609.749, subd. 2(4) (2002), and one count of violation of an order for protection in violation of Minn. Stat. § 518B.01, subd. 14 (2002).  After appellant again violated an order for protection in a different court file in January 2005, respondent charged appellant with one count of violation of an order for protection in violation of Minn. Stat. § 518B.01, subd. 14(c) (2004).  Appellant negotiated a plea agreement with the state, pleading guilty to gross-misdemeanor harassment/stalking and misdemeanor violation of an order for protection in the first case and gross misdemeanor violation of an order for protection in the second case.  The district court accepted the plea agreement and found appellant guilty.  This appeal follows.


            While this court does not generally address issues not first raised in the district court, a defendant who challenges a judgment of conviction against him based on an invalid guilty plea may seek a postconviction hearing from the district court or may appeal directly to this court.  Brown v. State, 449 N.W.2d 180, 182-83 (Minn. 1989).  “[D]irect appeal is appropriate when the record contains factual support for the defendant’s claim and when no disputes of material fact must be resolved to evaluate the claim on the merits.”  State v. Anyanwu, 681 N.W.2d 411, 413 n.1 (Minn. App. 2004).  Because appellant’s challenge is based entirely on matters in the record and because there is no material factual dispute, appellant properly appeals his judgment of conviction directly to this court. 

            Appellant argues that his guilty plea was not intelligently entered because he did not understand that, by pleading guilty, he was waiving his right to present witnesses.  The requirement that a guilty plea be made intelligently is designed to ensure “that the defendant understands the charges, understands the rights he is waiving by pleading guilty, and understands the consequences of his plea.”  State v. Trott, 338 N.W.2d 248, 251 (Minn. 1983).

            Here, there is no evidence to support appellant’s claim that he was unaware that he was waiving his right to present witnesses by pleading guilty.  To the contrary, the record shows that when appellant pleaded guilty he was aware of his right to present witnesses in his defense, that he was aware that he would not be able to call witnesses that day because witnesses had not been subpoenaed, and that pleading guilty would conclude the case.  The following exchange took place between appellant and his counsel at the plea hearing:

[Counsel]:       You understand that they were going to call their witnesses, I would get to cross-examine them?


[Appellant]:    We wouldn’t get to call our witnesses because we haven’t got them subpoenaed.


[Counsel]:       And when we were in court the last time I told you I was more than happy to subpoena any witnesses that you wanted to have called, right?


[Appellant]:    You did mention that, but you were kind of more concerned of making a deal . . . .


[Counsel]:       Right.  And this morning was the first time that you informed me that you had specific people you wanted called, right?


[Appellant]:    Yeah.


Appellant then went on to demonstrate his understanding of the ultimate conclusive effect of his guilty plea on the criminal proceedings, stating numerous times during the hearing that he was pleading guilty because he wanted to “get this over with.”  There is simply no factual support for appellant’s claim that he was unaware that he waived his right to present witnesses when he pleaded guilty. 

            Appellant’s contention that his guilty plea was involuntary because he “felt pressured to plead guilty ‘to get it over with’” similarly lacks merit.  The requirement that a guilty plea be made voluntarily exists to ensure “that the defendant is not pleading guilty because of improper pressures.”  Trott, 338 N.W.2d at 251.  The record here does not contain any indication of improper pressure that prompted appellant to plead guilty.  Instead, the record clearly shows that appellant wanted to plead guilty for finality’s sake, to end the ordeal of the criminal proceedings.  For example, after probing appellant’s understanding of the plea agreement and of his waiver of various rights, appellant’s counsel asked appellant, “Understanding all these rights, do you still wish to plead guilty?”  Appellant responded, “Yes. I want to get this over with, plead guilty so I can carry on.” 

            Further, following an exchange about the provisions of the plea agreement under which appellant would not be serving any additional prison time for the offenses, appellant agreed that he was pleading guilty of his “own free will”:

[Counsel]:       [H]as anybody made any promises to you or threats of any kind that are making you plead guilty?


[Appellant]:    You just promised me now that I—


[Counsel]:       Yeah, but did anybody threaten you or like promise that if you didn’t plead guilty they were going to hurt you or your family or anything?


[Appellant]:    Oh, no.


[Counsel]:       So you are doing this on your own free will?


[Appellant]:    Yes.  I’ve been incarcerated for—I turned myself in March 16th.  My bail has been 26,000.  It hasn’t dropped a penny.  And I just want to get rid of this, get this over with because I got some business to take care of when I get out.


            Because there is no indication that appellant’s guilty plea was entered either involuntarily or unintelligently, we decline to vacate appellant’s guilty pleas.